A Brief Description of Schizophrenia

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According to schizophrenia.com schizophrenia is a complex, debilitating mental disorder that 1-2% of the world population experience. It is a disorder of the brain that affects how people think, feel, and perceive. The purpose of this paper is to explore schizophrenia, in particular its signs, symptoms, etiology and pathophysiology, and then examine drug treatment and their mechanism of action. This will be followed by the prognosis for people with schizophrenia.
Signs and Symptoms
Early signs of schizophrenia include personality changes that involve abnormal emotional responses, mood disturbance, or depression, as well as cognitive changes (Schizophrenia Society of Canada, 2012). Symptoms of schizophrenia can be classified as positive
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Dopamine Hypothesis
The current dopamine hypothesis suggests that schizophrenia is a result of dysregulation of dopaminergic activity – there is an increase in dopamine D2 binding sites and there are prefrontal D1 deficits (Moncrieff, 2009;). This means that there is over activity of dopamine in certain areas of the brain – possibly leading to positive symptoms – and there is also under activity of dopamine in other areas of the brain – possibly leading to negative symptoms. The original dopamine hypothesis claimed that, rather than dysregulation, there was simply too much dopaminergic activity (Moncrieff, 2009). The dopamine hypothesis came from identification of antipsychotics as dopamine D2 receptor blockers (Nord, Farde, 2011; Miyake, Thompson, Skinbjerg, Dargham, 2011). Schizophrenia has been associated with the dysregulation of additional neurotransmitter systems such as serotonin and glutamate (Moncrieff, 2009).

Drug Treatments
Antipsychotics have long been the primary drug treatment for schizophrenia (Lehne, 2010). Antipsychotics are split into two main groups: 1) first generation antipsychotics (older, conventional); and 2) second generation antipsychotics (newer, atypical).
First generation antipsychotics (FGAs), such as haloperidol are dopamine D2 antagonists. The most common side effects include increased prolactin levels and extrapyramidal effects. Second generation antipsychotics (SGAs), such as clozapine, are
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